REI Co-op Editors' Choice Award Logo

REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Awards honor top products helping people get outdoors

New accolade recognizes co-op community favorites

Oct 6, 2020

REI introduces the REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Awards, a designation honoring gear and apparel from brands sold at the co-op that represent REI employee and customer favorites—based on field testing, REI expertise, and co-op member and customer feedback. Products recognized meet various parameters such as being best-in-class in a category, bringing innovation to the outdoor community, or for being time-honored equipment the co-op has recommended for years.   

REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Awards are developed by REI’s in-house editorial team who also creates the co-op community’s rich content sites including Co-op JournalUncommon Path, and Expert Advice, to help educate and inspire REI’s growing co-op community.  

“For more than 80 years people have turned to the co-op to find great gear for their outdoor adventures,” says Michelle Flandreau, senior editor at REI. "Through this new editorial awards program grounded in rigorous field tests with our members and staff, we’re establishing yet another way for our community to discover and learn about best-in-class gear and apparel." 

The inaugural set of REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Awards recipients are: 


Products recognized are top performers in a head-to-head round-robin test and include both longtime standouts and the latest innovations to hit shelves at REI. Product reviews on and customer feedback, along with sustainability attributes, based on REI product sustainability standards, are also considered in the process. Testers include REI employees and co-op members from across the nation, who evaluate everything from a product’s usability to its features in a variety of climates, terrain, and weather. They report back on their experiences with qualitative and quantitative data collected along the way.  

Some tests can last months, or even up to a year depending on the category, to see how the products perform, through various seasons and scenarios. Scores and data are added up and discussed by the editorial team. The top-scoring gear goes into Gear Guides on Expert Advice, REI’s the co-op's gear and expertise learning library. The best-of-the-best will also receive the REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Award.  

Products considered must be sold at the co-op. There is no set timing or number of recipients that may receive this accolade. Products are continually tested and can be recognized with an REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Award designation anytime through the year.